12 features to develop a top notch travel app


The need for Mobile Travel apps

The travel and tourism sector is a great industry to start developing apps for. But the point that most companies seem to miss out in general is what features to implement, in order to rank it among the best travel apps. With India’s TripHobo getting it right and scoring a funding of over $1 million, what are the features that can make your travel app a hit?

1. Travel Itinerary generator

travel-app-developer-1This is the most important feature demanded by most travel enthusiasts or tourists. What makes it so special? An efficient itinerary generator only asks the user to mention the locations that they want to visit and automatically creates a travel plan from it. Take a look at services like TripHobo, that lets users add existing tourist attractions or even add custom landmarks to generate their trip plan accordingly. Implementing such complex algorithms is not easy but if you want to make your travel app a success, then this is the first feature to keep in mind.

2. Geolocation tracking services

travel-app-developer-2A vital goal for hitting the gold mine in travel app development, comes from successfully integrating GPS based location services. After dropping at a certain destination the first thing that a tourist wants to check out is a hotel, cafe or a nearby local attraction. Your travel app should be able to get a quick GPS lock, track your location and quickly fetch the results. Mobile apps such as Locat’r does a fine job of searching nearby locations for all kinds of services a tourist can avail while on a trip.

3. Weather or Climate Forecasting

travel-app-developer-3A lot of tourists book their flights in haste not thinking about the ramifications that a climate change can bring on an unplanned journey. To prevent such calamities travel app development companies should always integrate a real time climate forecast and alert the traveller of upcoming weather predictions, when they are creating their travel itinerary. To get an idea of what I am talking about, check out apps like WeatherPro, that displays weather reports for a vast number of locations all over the world. It lets users check cloud formation patterns, wind speed, humidity and several other important factors before planning trips.

4. In app language translator

travel-app-developer-4Now this is one heck of a tricky feature to implement but if you can get it working, your app will be an instant favorite. In most cases travelers are not too familiar with a regional language and suffer while trying to communicate in a broken manner. Apps like Google Translate and iTranslate let travelers scan texts for visual translation, translate real time voice data and written text as well. Travel app development companies should definitely take this feature seriously if they want to stand out and offer a unique pitch for their app.

5. Currency Converter

travel-app-developer-5Think from a tourist’s perspective. You are on a trip and need to exchange some currencies. To know the currency exchange rates you shouldn’t need to look beyond your travel app. Travel app developers should take cue from apps such as XE Currency, that tracks all the current and past variations in currency rates, and integrate this feature within their travel app.

6. World Clock Time Converter

travel-app-developer-6Crossing time zones can cause a lot of confusion for tourists, in the matter of tracking the exact changes in clock times. It is a simple feature for a travel app to have but one that can prevent a person from installing yet another. Travel app developers should take a page from the book of apps such as Perfect World Clock that saves the users valuable time (pun intended) by calculating the correct clock times for different time zones across the world.

7. Location based emergency services

travel-app-developer-7An emergency situation can come up irrespective of specific time and location. Every travel app development initiative should remember to include emergency phone number and services (based on the current location) feed to make sure that travelers can access them whenever a need arises.

8. Uber/ Cab service integration

travel-app-developer-8Whether you need to travel from the airport to your hotel or perhaps to a certain tourist attraction, cab service is one of the most important part of a trip. If you are a travel app developer then your product must come with this feature integrated within. Plus, if you look at it as a source of extra income, Uber pays you a steady amount per user referred ($5 per passenger, in USA), which is a great idea for a successful business model.

9. Social Dining

travel-app-developer-12In many cases travelers prefer an authentic experience to the same old living in a hotel. Dining in the chef’s house while listening to the tales of the land is a much more fascinating than the same old restaurant dining. This new concept is gaining massive popularity and services like EatWith are taking it to a new level. If you are developing a travel app, you must definitely try to leverage this feature.

10. Washroom Finder

travel-app-developer-11Ever been out on the road unable to find a washroom or loo? You’re not the only one. Thousands of tourists face this situation and have to suffer through it. While developing a travel app or website, this is a key offering to install within your product. Apps like Toilet Finder or SitOrSquat have received immense popularity among travelers and the general population in finding them a restroom in case of emergencies.

11. Integrated social feed/ messaging service

travel-app-developer-9A major part of travel app development lies in social media integration. Real time social feeds like Twitter and Facebook let tourists interact with their friends and following by sharing snapshots, experiences and also letting them know where they are.

12. Trip Reviews from other travelers

travel-app-developer-10The whole reason that made apps like TripAdvisor gain a viral fan following was because of its review system. Tourists should be able to review a place and share their experiences with other tourists. This will help create awareness and also help better the services of hotels, cafes and other businesses. Rather than making people download other apps, travel app developers should just add these features into their products.

The Verdict

There you have it. Integrating most, if not all, of these features will score your app some highly favoring points when separating your product from others. The travel app industry is presently booming and there is a long line of apps trying to take the crown. Following these guidelines and consulting experienced mobile developers might just give your app the right catalyst for success.

Swarnendu De

Swarnendu is the Co-founder and Lead architect at Innofied. For the last seven years, he has been working with numerous JavaScript technologies including Backbone.js, Node.js, ExtJS, Sencha, and so on, and has developed more than 50 complex JavaScript-based applications thus far. He is the author of the book Backbone.js Patterns and Best Practices. Swarnendu regularly writes at his personal blog, Innofied Blog, the Tuts+ network, and provides support and assistance for JavaScript, Sencha and much more around the web. You can reach him through his website at or via Twitter at @swarnendude